"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
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Disaster struck with no warning out of a faultlessly clear blue sky.
I was taking my morning swim around the island that my brother Geoffrey, a businessman, had bought on a whim a decade ago and turned into a tropical paradise 200 yards from one of the world's most beautiful beaches.
I was a quarter way around the island when I heard my brother shouting at me, "Come back! Come back! There's something strange happening with the sea."… Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post writing from Weligama, Sri Lanka, Dec. 26.
The Post has a package of coverage on the tsunami.
Our fathers understood this. All the Western religions conceived of man as a puny thing next to his Creator. But, in the 21st century, we chafe at the idea that bad things may simply happen, that there was no way of stopping them, that no one is to blame and that no one can be sued. A tsunami strikes at our precious modern sense of being masters of our fate. We feel, with Gonzalo at the beginning of The Tempest, that there is something particularly unfair about meeting our end this way: "Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, brown furze, any thing. The wills above be done! but I would fain die a dry death". Powerlessness is one of the most wretched of human feelings. But there are days when a readiness to accept the hardness of our condition is the only proper attitude. Yesterday was such a day.